I started installing wraps on my arrows for a few reasons, but mostly just to make them look different while simultaneously advertise my brand. I love them aesthetically, but they have been the biggest pain in the butt too. I don’t like that every time I hit another vane while practicing or do an average job fletching in the first place, I have to peel the arrow wrap off and waste all of that material, as opposed to simply replacing the single fletching. This probably isn’t the best thing to write about when I literally sell my own arrow wraps online (see here), but I want to be honest about it too. Maybe one day I’ll try them again, but I’m really annoyed with them right now and I’ve gone back to the old ways.
No matter how much you research, watch videos, or talk to fellow hunters about their experiences, you are bound to find something that you’d do differently the next time you get out. The cool thing is that it changes depending on the species, method of choice, time of year, terrain, and amount of time you have. I took little notes when I was on my recent archery antelope hunt - things that I’d want someone else to know before attempting to spot and stalk a speedgoat. A few of these I knew prior to the hunt from talking to friends, while others I learned by actually chasing them myself.
It was my first time ever hunting antelope and also my first time to hunt Wyoming. I connected with a family through social media that had several girls that hunted, including a 3 year old named Lilly that completely stole my heart. Wall tent camp on public land with a new group of avid bowhunters sounded so fun and I couldn’t wait to get there. I’d been practicing every day and feeling so confident with my setup. I honestly went into it thinking it was going to be fairly easy because I always heard there were so many antelope everywhere you looked.
Learning to make my own snacks for my hunts, especially jerky of any kind, has been the most gratifying thing to add to my skill set. Obviously it saves money because it’s no secret that buying it from the store is crazy expensive, but just seeing your work as a hunter taken a step further is really special! I cringe at the amount of money I’ve spent in the past on (beef) jerky, and I highly doubt I’ll be dropping my wild game off to be processed in the future after learning to simply grind my own meat. There’s so much you can do with ground meat, which is what brings me to this step-by-step for making one of my favorite snacks in the field! If you’re reading this and still don’t know how to grind your meat in order to make the tastiest meat sticks ever, start here then come back to this article!
I’m a rookie when it comes to handling wild game after the hunt. Yes, I am shamelessly admitting that I’ve been dropping it off to be processed for 90% of my hunts for all these years! We typically have a lot of meat when season wraps up, and the thought of processing it myself was daunting. Last year I decided I wanted to process everything myself, then in true Jessica fashion, I avoided it like the plague. I’ve had 5 or so deer sitting in my freezer this entire time. At least I deboned it before putting it in there!!
It was 2015 when i finally left the state of Texas to experience western hunting for the first time. More specifically, I went on my first elk hunt and came home with a trophy bull. Before I left for that hunt, I specifically asked my archery shop what I needed to change about my arrow setup, and I only did that because my cousin had researched this topic on multiple hunting forums, and every one of them insisted on taking a heavy arrow. I had been shooting a lighter arrow up until that point (Ted Nugent pink/zebra arrows to be exact). After getting a full passthrough, not once but TWICE on my bull (with only a 25.5” draw length and 50 lb draw weight), I started to understand the importance of switching up that setup. Back home I rarely had passthroughs on deer with the lighter setup, which still worked well, but I was extremely impressed with the performance of my 400+ grain arrow on my elk. He didn’t even know what hit him on the first shot.
I think this is one of the most challenging articles I’ve ever written. Is it normal to start a blog post by saying that? Ha!
I feel that there are so many stories, perspectives, and lessons to be learned that are wrapped up into this one experience. I can’t help but want to tell every single angle of it: a father/daughter relationship, the adrenaline we feel as hunters, the innocence of a first time hunter, the difference a single hunter can make in regards to conservation, learning to cope with all the emotions that surface after the shot, the peacefulness of a wall tent camp under the Northern Lights, and the undeniable results of a hard-working, faith driven family and outfit. I truly hope to depict an accurate reflection of the energy on this hunt, between the video and some added detail within this article. I can’t help but highlight what resonates with me the most: a story of a father and his teenage daughter going on her very first hunt. This certainly hits home for me, and it was really neat getting to see their relationship.
Shopping for a tripod is overwhelming to say the least. There are hundreds of options, which is great if you’re a professional photographer or videographer that knows exactly what they want, but what about the all around outdoorsmen? The ones that enjoy filming and creating content, but also need something that holds up in any terrain to glass up that dream buck? I have quite the tripod collection, but I want to simplify things by sharing my top 4 in hopes that it aligns with your needs as well; I’m going to focus on how it fits into my personal life, rather than rambling off all the features. I use the following tripods ALL THE TIME, and you’ll see those specific uses under each product.